No proposal to enact law mandating Google, FB to share ad rev with publishers: I&B min
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has not endorsed any demand by the Indian Newspaper Society in this regard
Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that there is no proposal for enactment of a law by the government to mandate tech companies like Google and Facebook to share advertising revenue with newspaper publishers.
"There is no proposal for enactment of a law by the government in this regard," Javadekar said in the Lok Sabha in response to a question whether the government proposes to bring legislation on this issue.
He also said that the government has not endorsed any demand by the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for compelling tech companies like Google and Facebook to share advertising revenue with publishers.
"No such demand has been endorsed by the government," he said on being asked whether the government has endorsed the demand of INS for sharing advertising revenue by Google and Facebook to compensate Indian newspapers for using their content.
Queried whether the government receives revenue from such companies for the Indian news published in print and electronic media as per the global practices, Javadekar stated, "Government earns GST as per applicable rates for the publishing industry."
In February, Javadekar had said that the Indian government is monitoring the developments in Australia and other markets like Singapore, European Union with respect to making tech companies like Google and Facebook pay news publishers for using their content.
"India is following those developments with respect to making social media platforms pay for news content," Javadekar had said when asked if the Indian government will emulate the Australian government in making tech companies compensate news publishers.
Earlier, INS President L Adimoolan had written a letter to Google India Country Manager Sanjay Gupta demanding that Google should pay for news generated by the newspapers which employ thousands of journalists on the ground, at considerable expense, for gathering and verifying information.
Since the content which is generated and published by newspapers at a considerable expense is proprietary, the Society noted that it is this credible content that has given Google authenticity in India ever since its inception.
Pointing out that publishers have been providing complete access to "quality journalism with credible news, current affairs, analysis, information, and entertainment", INS said there is a huge distinction between the editorial content from quality publications and fake news that is spreading on other information platforms.
The Society noted that, over the past year, publishers across the world have been raising the issue of fair payment for content and of proper sharing of advertising revenue with Google. INS noted that Google has recently agreed to better compensate and pay publishers in France, the European Union, and notably in Australia.
It was also pointed out that advertising has been the financial backbone of the news industry. However, newspaper publishers are seeing their share of the advertising pie shrinking in the digital space, even as Google is taking a "giant share of advertising spends", leaving publishers with a small share.
Publishers are also facing a very opaque advertising system, as they are unable to get details of Google's advertising value chain. The Society insisted that Google should increase the publisher share of advertising revenue to 85%, and also ensure more transparency in the revenue reports provided to publishers by Google.
INS noted that it had raised the issue of giving greater prominence to editorial content from registered news publishers to tackle fake news, as Google picks up content from several sites that are not credible, thus "amplifying misinformation and propagation of fake news."
Pointing out that the Society has been engaged in discussions with Google on these vital issues, the letter reiterated that "Indian print media is the most credible source of news and information in the country, and newspapers play a vital role in nation-building. However, the pandemic and the current digital business model have been unfair to publishers, making it unviable for the Print media industry. We invest heavily in Journalism, the core of our news operations because newspapers play a vital role in society."
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